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“Rediscovering ancient pilgrimage destinations is a revelation of our time.  People want to slow down and see more.  There is a right path for everyone on our well-developed pilgrimage routes.  Thank you for traveling with us!”    -OC-Travel Management

Thank you for the privilege to be the chaplain

Merry Christmas!  Thank you for the privilege to be the chaplain on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I think overall the organization for the trip, all things considered, was great.  Amer did a really good job as our guide. I would highly recommend keeping him on for future pilgrimages as much as possible.  Given the political situation while we were there (President Trump announcing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel), I found it good that we were not kept in the dark and Amer kept us informed of the latest news from his sources at the various sites. That might be something to include in the brochure in some way for those worried about security while there in the Holy Land.  I really liked how Amer emphasized the difference between tourists and pilgrims. The policy of not buying souvenirs until Monday (more than half way through) was very good. It was also good that the places we did stop in were supporting the Christian communities there in the Holy Land.  As far as the pacing of the pilgrimage, I think it struck a very good medium between too much free time and packing too much into a short time. I appreciated how we usually had time at the end of the day to visit the Annunciation in Nazareth every night before going to bed. It was more tricky in Jerusalem since the Holy Sepulchre closed at about 7 pm (I think), but there was usually enough time after getting back and before dinner. And for those who needed to rest, they were given the opportunity to do that as well, especially those who had taken ill.  I hope this helps for the future pilgrimages. I apologize this is not organized better.  Thank you once more for the privilege to come on the pilgrimage.  I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-Fr. David

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 29, 2017

This trip was a very special experience

This trip was a very special experience -there was so much to learn! The historical sites were impressive and Christmas will have a special meaning for me now. Susan did a great job and our guide  Amer was very knowledgeable. I had a contact at the sisters of Zion convent and had the opportunity of visiting the Ecco Homo convent on the Via Dolorosa –head  office of the sisters of Zion. Anyone can stay there like a hotel or studying the Bible for a month long course. An arch built by Hadrian is part of their chapel. Everyone got along well as we were there for a common purpose and although I am not as devout as some it did have a good influence on me. But the most impressive person was Father Franco. We were all in awe of him. He was so inspiring. He was human with a great sense of humor and very holy at the same time. I have never met anyone so young and brilliant  with so many attributes. The only negative of the trip  was that everyone was snorting, coughing, wheezing, sneezing and snuffling as in a symphony of sound on the bus and the plane.  I would recommend this highly to my friends.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 21, 2017

The Pilgrimage is a lifetime experience beyond one’s imagination

The beauty and the profound significance of every place we visited in Israel which depicts the life and death of Jesus has left an indelible mark in my life.  The  Pilgrimage is a lifetime experience beyond one’s imagination.  Am blessed and forever grateful for having such opportunity.”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 20, 2017

Thank God for good priests

First of all, Father Franco is the best, he is a virtuous priest. He’s fun to be with, and I learned a lot from him. On the trip, he gave us lots of chances for Confession in the evenings and I attend the Latin Mass in Vancouver, so that was a bonus on this trip with the Latin Mass every day. Thank God for good priests.  Secondly, our guide, Amer, is very knowledgeable. Our bus driver, is excellent at driving. Thanks goes to them.  I also feel very fortunate to have been grouped together with great people in this particular group, everyone made efforts and cared for each other, and it was very enjoyable. I hope I can get to keep them as long time friends in the future.  Our hotels are good, food was also good, thank you for your work in arranging.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 22, 2017

It was a good trip

Yes, it was a good trip and a nice group of people and nice to see such a lovely young girl, Jade, so prayerful. Good tour director, Susan, hotel and food were very good.   I would like to see the Dome of the Rock [Islamic shrine], if it is possible in the future, otherwise everything was good.”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 16, 2017

The pilgrimage was wonderful

“The pilgrimage was wonderful, and far exceeded my expectations. Susan and Amer’s expertise in arranging the itinerary and timing the visits was exemplary, and greatly contributed to the experience. I greatly enjoyed this visit, and would go again in a heartbeat!”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 12, 2017

The Holy Land tour was an unforgettable experience

The Holy Land tour was an unforgettable experience.  Our guide Amer was superb.  He has a wealth of knowledge about Jesus’ life, and he is a gifted teacher.  Daily Mass with Fr. David Franco in various holy locations added greatly to the pilgrimage.  Though not previously familiar with the Latin rite, we came to appreciate the piety and reverence of this form of worship.  Our accommodations were above average, and the bus was comfortable with a very skilled driver.  A couple of negatives to report: In Tel Aviv airport a couple of pilgrims had lost luggage, and were left to fend for themselves.  The bus transport in London from airport to hotel was inadequate.  We had to change hotels for our last night in Israel, which was very inconvenient (though the Saint Gabriel Hotel was excellent).  These glitches were minor compared to the overall experience.  Thank-you for letting us join such a grace-filled pilgrimage.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed December 11, 2017

We have nothing but praise

Genevieve and I were very pleased and appreciative. We have nothing but praise for the staff, the venues, the accommodation, food and transport. Each and every member of the tour was pleasant, considerate, cooperative and friendly.  You may release our personal information to the members of this group as we hope to be in contact with them.  Special thanks to Susan, Fr. Franco, Amer and David (bus driver) who made everyone feel at ease and were very professional in all their communication with us.  Please keep us informed about future pilgrimages to recommend to families and friends.  We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a joyful Season.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reviewed December 11, 2017

Be assured of our continued prayers

Pardon the late acknowledgement of your kind note.  John, I recall your encouragement to spend as much time as possible with my dear grandchildren, and your generous gift will facilitate that.  Be assured of our continued prayers for you, your family and your various undertakings.  May God bless you.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reviewed September 11, 2017

Evangelizing through beauty

Every success with ‘evangelizing through beauty’ in your pilgrimages and tours!”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reviewed August 30, 2017

We very much enjoyed the tour

Still have a couple of kids to get into college – otherwise we would be on the tour in a heart beat.  We very much enjoyed the tour in Italy you arranged – best adventure we have had.  Let us know if you can arrange for anything in England and Scotland – we would be happy to be your pilot family.  Again, my congratulations.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reviewed August 10, 2017

I reminisce about our evening strolls through Tiberius and Jerusalem

“I too miss you guys, and all the enjoyment from the pilgrimage.  I reminisce about our evening strolls through Tiberius and Jerusalem, enjoying Cokes, and lounging by the Sea of Galilee or at the Notre Dame terrace!  Lots of good memories and great places, my favorite place being the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, another fond memory of having been able to enjoy with the both of you.”


Reviewed July 13, 2017

Tears of love and gratitude still come to my eyes in remembering our pilgrimage

“Thank you for the wonderful pictures. I have been enjoying looking at them and tears of love and gratitude still come to my eyes in remembering our pilgrimage.  As I said to you in person, it was the trip of a lifetime and I’ll never forget it.  Everything you arranged was wonderful and thank you again.  Please give my best to your brother Andy when you’re speaking to him.  Warmest wishes for a great summer and happy travels in the future.”


Reviewed July 7, 2017

We were amazed at all of the sites that we visited

“We thoroughly enjoyed our trip.  Amer was a walking encyclopedia.  Our only suggestion is in Bethlehem, John our guy, spoke way too fast and we could barely understand what he was saying, he is a good guy, just needs to slow down with his speech so we can keep up with him. Possibly caused by a slight accent also.  The hotel in the Sea of Galilee was good, the Notre Dame Hotel was excellent.  We were amazed at all of the sites that we visited how close they were in relation to the Sea of Galilee as well as Jerusalem.  We were not concerned with safety or security at any time during our trip.  We are already recommending the November trip to our friends.  May God continue to bless you in your given talents.”


Reviewed June 13, 2017

Thank you for your kind comments and your generosity

Thank you for your kind comments and your generosity. It was wonderful to meet your family as a bonus to the tour.


Reviewed June 13, 2017

Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage

Praised be Jesus Christ!  Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Lands the end of May.


Reviewed June 12, 2017

It was a fantastic trip

It was a fantastic trip – even with the ‘bonus’ days in England.  Here are my thoughts: the guide was fantastic.  Saving the gift buying until Bethlehem was also great.  Although I’m a tightwad, many of the people liked the shop.  In other pilgrimages I was chaplain on, one or two people would often be buying stuff, slowing us down.  A little more time at the pilgrim churches would be better.  Many of the pilgrims would have probably liked to have known about the evening service of offering incense by the Franciscans in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  You probably do not have to go, but at least make it known.   Praised be Jesus Christ!  Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Lands the end of May.

-Fr. Carl

Reviewed June 12, 2017

The memories we treasure


” Back home, trying to settle down in our routine again.  The memories we treasure from the pilgrimage keep permeating our daily life. Today we shared the pictures with my daughter and her husband, and looking at the images, helps again in re-tracing the steps we walked in that Holy part of the world.  The fact that we were so lucky, and got Amer as the tour guide, adds to the great value of this unforgettable trip. We learned in giant steps things that, in our whole life as Catholics we’d never learned, but only through the amazing way that Amir is able to interrelate so much information.  I feel like I should have stayed there forever, I’d love to have the chance to, for the rest of my life, pay a daily visit to the Chapel of the Calvary and spend hours each day there, to accompany Our Lord and Our Sweet Mother Mary.  From now on, every minute of my prayers and meditations, will have a new perspective. In my heart and in my mind, now I can be present in the exact places where events actually happened. That gives my time with Our Lord a whole new depth and intensity.

For this and many more blessings that will come to our lives, we thank God and also thank you for making this trip possible.


Reviewed June 11, 2017

This trip provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow in faith

I hope this email finds you well.  Apologies for the delay in getting this email to you – just want to respond to your call for feedback on last month’s trip.  Just a few things I want to highlight about the trip: First of all, thank you so much for pairing myself and Teresita! You found me (I hope Teresita agrees with me!) an excellent fit. I feel like I not only made a new friend for the duration of the trip, but for a long time to come.  I want to comment on the pre-trip departure that you organized in February. The tips were undoubtedly practical, and meeting my roommate in advance was helpful in learning about some of the “habits” of the other person.  I want to remark on how helpful the guides were (to follow during Mass), as I had only ever attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass perhaps once or twice prior to this trip.  This trip provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow in faith. I was fortunate enough to have teachers in elementary school who shared their experiences of pilgrimages to Fatima/Lourdes, and I know that this trip helped me to come “full circle”. We learned about the stories associated with Fatima/Lourdes/St. Bernadette etc., but I am forever grateful for the opportunity to experience it first hand. One of my classmates in grade 4 used to pray that the light of Christ burn brightly in our hearts today and always”, and the countless number of candles brought that intention back to me like she was standing there.  Overall, the trip was well-organized and well-executed. The only feedback I have is that there was a small difference in the amount of tips for the director and driver stated in the guide that we received and originally-stated figure. However, I will emphasize that this did, at least from my recollection, get resolved relatively quickly.  Thank you again for this trip. I would like to be included on the mailing list for future opportunities.


Reviewed June 9, 2017

Amazing, wonderful, so many superlatives…

Amazing, wonderful, so many superlatives…but in the end it’s all about our faith, so for that, grateful, humbled. It was a pleasure to meet everyone and be part of the group that was looking to learn more about our faith , give honor to our Lord and Blessed Mother as we traced their footsteps and be humbled to be stepping on the same grounds They did!  Thank you!  Please extend our thanks to Fathers – Gismondi and Fryar as well!  Some items that maybe helpful/good to share in advance: The small card/paper from Israeli immigration – keep and make sure they’re available if needed in the return back.  List of places to visit or things to do that may be of interest for people to pursue on their own or as group (at their own risk, if disclaimer is appropriate).  Mass and Confession.  Logistics change, and so as schedule like what happened to us with the Trump visit.  But didn’t have any effect on our experience.  Having said that, whenever possible, maybe Mass can be scheduled a few hours (preferably 3 hrs) before meal.   I think we were very fortunate to have Masses on the holy places.  I will not change them just the schedule if possible.  If not, another Mass perhaps?  Personally, I could go to an early Mass (before breakfast) to receive Holy Communion then assist on another.  If it permits, announce in advance place/s and time/s when confession can be heard.  We’ll share your info and our experience to others.  May God bless you and your company to lead and bring others to these holy places, topped with the Mass of All Times. Thanks again.”


Reviewed June 3, 2017

Our entire family was so blessed

I just wanted to drop you a quick note.  Our entire family was so blessed to be able to go on this pilgrimage.  I’m amazed that for such a big trip and such a big group, everything went off without a hitch.  (Of course, we weren’t flying British Air.)  I think the only suggestion I would have is in your pre-trip email correspondence, you could mention to plan about $10-$20 per person per day for lunch.   Also, you may want to also mention bringing some $1 bills.  I had brought 20- $1 bills, but with the family getting water, etc., we went through that quickly.  Thank you so much for everything.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime!


Reviewed June 3, 2017

You made a difference in my life

“The pilgrimage was excellent!  In fact, I would call it a profound experience.   I could not have asked for a better experience.  Some of my highlights.  Our guide Amer was really good; he added a lot, which really added value to the pilgrimage.  While each of our tours sites was unique and valuable in their own way, and really can’t be compared against each other, I think my highlights were the following:  praying and walking the Via Dolorosa and Mass at the Holy Sepulchere; and our Mass and visit to the Primacy of St. Peter.  Great hotels!  I enjoyed getting to know you and your brother Andy on this trip.  I was also relieved that our family was not awkwardly ostracized for not being familiar with the traditional Latin Mass.  Thanks again for putting this together.  You made a difference in my life, and I also think (based on their private comments to me), each of lives of our family.”


Reviewed May 31, 2017

The trip was “overwhelming” in a good way

The trip was “overwhelming” in a good way.  I can’t believe there’s a better guide than Amer.  We got more than our money’s worth with him.  The man is invaluable and a wealth of information.  Thank you again for the fabulous pilgrimage.  Food and lodging were wonderful.  I was glad that Amer switched gears and gave us the option for lunches.  I barely eat two meals a day so I could easily go without lunch, but I understand that I’m probably an exception to the rule rather than the rule.  My only other suggestions would be that you let people know that there are usb outlets on the buses (I only found out about them from Tom on the last day!), check with the hotels to see if they supply hair dryers (I wish I had known.  Would never have brought mine.  It was one more thing to weigh me down.) and irons (no big deal for the men, but VERY big deals for the women) and let everyone know that there is daily adoration when staying at the Notre Dame Center.  That was an extra bonus for sure!  Oh, and definitely, people need to be reminded to bring water with them at the Church of the Nativity.  I didn’t think I was going to survive waiting in line for as long as we did because I didn’t bring any.  I had no idea the lines would be worse than Disneyland plus people taking cuts!  Live and learn as they say.  Well, thanks again to you, Amer and of course our very capable driver, David!  The dynamic trio or is it the 3 Amiable Amigos?  LOL!  And tell your wife thank you for her effort to bring us home.  It was much appreciated.  Will pictures be posted somewhere?


Reviewed May 31, 2017

Thank you for a great pilgrimage

I am back in DC, and am waiting for my ride.  Thank you for a great pilgrimage, and for everything!  God bless you.”


Reviewed May 29, 2017

What an amazing and beautiful experience

What an amazing and beautiful experience! Seeing the glorious sights of where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared was enriching and my it reaffirmed my faith. Seeing all of the churches, sights, and people that honored our Lady was so touching. This tour brought me to places that I never would have thought to go to myself and I am so grateful for John Sonnen and the wonderful work that he does. This tour of Mexico City, Puebla, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was so inspiring and amazing! I loved every minute of it and I cannot wait to go on another tour with John!


Reviewed May 30, 2017

Loved it

“Was a well organized travel.  Loved it!  Thank you, looking forward to travel in Holy Land.”


Reviewed May 26, 2017

Hope to travel with Orbis again

“I want to thank you for this memorable and enjoyable experience on a Pilgrimage with Orbis and Cosmos.  I like all the hotels, the breakfast buffets, porter service, safe and courteous driver and knowledgeable tour director.  The Masses celebrated were very solemn and spiritually enriching. I loved visiting the Unesco Heritage sites which were very rich in vital history, as well as all the amazing Churches and Cathedrals.  Your kindness, gentleness and sincere caring for our safety is highly commendable and truly appreciated.  Hope to travel with Orbis again in the future.”


Reviewed May 19, 2017

I wish to inform you that I am immensely happy and satisfied

Am aware that you are now in Holy Land, a place I hope someday will have a chance to visit.  I wish to inform you that I am immensely happy and satisfied with everything from our most recent trip.  COSMOS with Vitor (awesome) and Luis(the most careful and the best driver) made our trip very pleasant and comfortable.  With Fr. Pablo’s solemn Latin Masses and with Zack’s capable assistance to Fr. Pablo – they made a great team.  Extremely happy I got to visit Our Lady of Fatima (100th Anniversary at that) and Our Lady of Lourdes – a dream come true.  Everything happens for a reason. As you said John, “It’s Divine Providence”.  It was a fascinating trip – Montserrat is breathtaking and captivating.  Quite a beguiling experience.  I never thought group tours can be enjoyable and fun.  Till our next trip together…..May God bless you and your family always.”


Reviewed May 19, 2017

 We could not personally thank you

We could not personally thank you all what you have done for us after arriving in Vancouver, it was a wonderful experience and you helped us make it happen. Also, thank you so much for all the support given to Father Pablo, we think that it goes beyond what you can expect!  Things that I liked: Your help for making the Pilgrimage more affordable for us with the given discount.  Having you as our leader, ready for helping all of us. For me this was a Pilgrimage more than a Tour, so by having somebody to think and plan about the religious things that need to be considered, was important.  Vitor also did a very good job as the Tour Director.  Louis also was a plus with his smooth driving.  Having Mass almost every day.  All the Sanctuaries and sites visited, some of them really make an impact in you.  How the luggage pickup and delivery was executed, it helps a lot, even though that sometimes you needed to wait a little bit more than expected.  Some of the dinners that were included, were very good.”


Reviewed May 17, 2017

We found the pilgrimage a once-in-a-lifetime experience

We found the Pilgrimage a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and well worth the trip. We also found the company enjoyable, and the tours enlightening and educational.  Wish we could have had more time to explore certain places we visited.  Thank you for co-ordinating the pilgrimage for us. Definitely keep us in mind for future trips. God Bless.”


Reviewed May 17, 2017

Everything was great

“Everything was great on that pilgrimage. The acommodations, food, company together with us, the Latin Masses with Fr.Pablo every day, but most of all, the Marian places and a few other places that were not in the itinerary, that too, was a bonus to us. To see the devotions of the people in the crowd and within our group, that inspired and evangelized us all.  We appreciate all the people involved, like our good tour guide Vitor, Luis safest driver, Fr. Pablo and his assistant and you, John, as good coordinator.  It was very spiritual pilgrimage to remember, thanking God for our safety and enjoyed the entire trip.  Looking forward for the next trip.  Thank you and God bless.


Reviewed May 16, 2017

 I’ve told our friends about our wonderful experiences

“I’ve told many friends about our wonderful experiences during the pilgrimage.  You’ve given Mary Beth and me a wonderful gift, which we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.”
Reviewed November 26, 2016

Thank you for your generosity and for putting this trip together

Thank you for your generosity and for putting this trip together.  We are enjoying all the pictures you took as well as our own as you have pictures of places that we didn’t see, etc.  It took a little longer than usual to get over our jet lag but I believe it has now passed.  Anastasia is definitely a good traveller  so nice to have had  her and Natalie along.  We appreciate the wonderful group that we travelled with to Rome with.  They were all so delightful to be with…one big family.  The Holy Spirit was definitely with us.  Father Donnelly was wonderful to travel with.  We enjoyed singing along with him at morning and evening prayer as well as at Mass.  Our trip to Assisi and climbing the Holy Stairs was a highlight for me though as we look back on all that we did we found that every day.  Was wonderful.   We have some very delightful memories of our time away.  So many events…so many happy memories.”
Reviewed November 17, 2016

I had goose bumps

I had goose bumps from the time I was in the Vatican until I got on the plane!”
Reviewed November 16, 2016

We had such a good time

Hi John and Natalie, we had such a good time with the two you. Hope you are over the jet lag.  We would like to know more about this next trip!  Could you please call us about it?”
Reviewed November 15, 2016

We had such a wonderful time

We are home safe and sound, wishing we were back in  Rome already.  We had such a wonderful time!  Thank you again for everything.  I don’t think it would have been the same with any other tour group.”
-Mary Beth
Reviewed November 14, 2016

It was a wonderful experience

Thank you for the great leadership on the pilgrimage.  It was a wonderful experience.  Making friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Reviewed November 14, 2016

It is quite a Blessing for all of us

I just want to thank you for guiding us on our Pilgrimage.  It is quite a Blessing for all of us.  P.S. Everything on our Pilgrimage was a “Hi Light”.”
Reviewed November 10, 2016

A joyful experience

“Thank you John and Natalie for a joyful experience in Rome!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reviewed November 3, 2016

A great experience

“Thank you so much! The Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrimage was really a great experience. I really enjoyed being with the group.  I think my mother who passed away 2 years ago and my dad who passed away 4 years ago are very happy now. Many thanks for the opportunity to visit the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine along with the solemn Latin Masses. My mother was a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her last and only wish from me was to pray for her. I thought that joining the pilgrimage is one way of fulfilling her last wish.  Thanks so much again for the very wonderful experience!


                                                            Reviewed March 22, 2016

A grace-filled time for me

This pilgrimage was really a grace-filled time for me.  Your careful planning made everything flow smoothly.  Your attention and proper instructions kept us safe at all times.  Daily Mass with Father Masutti was such a gift.  I liked visiting the different beautiful churches.  Revisiting the Shrine of Our Lady was a joy because it really did help to remember it better and to see what one might have missed the first time.  Being in the city of Puebla was quite special with its beautiful Spanish-inspired buildings.  And Lunch in that fine restaurant was very much enjoyed.  The presentation of all the different uses of the guava plant impressed me.  It taught me to look deeper into other cultures’ ways of using available natural things.  Even though I did not climb the pyramids, just walking around the grounds was quite interesting.  I am glad we visited there.  And then, of course, I appreciated your super-gentlemanly help at the airport at arrival and departure.  Thank you so very much.  If the timing is right for one of your next excursions, I will be happy to be part of it.”


                                                            Reviewed March 19, 2016

 You were the perfect guide

Thank you so much for leading this group to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe!  Being my first time ‘officially’ out of the country, you were the perfect guide.  Calm, experienced, patient and knowledgable.  The entire trip was the experience I was hoping for.  I only wish that I had kept a journal to make notes of each church we visited.  Looking at the pictures, they became a blur and it was hard to identify each one.  If I am to go on a pilgrimage again, I would certainly choose you and I will highly recommend you to any friends.  Thank your wife and daughter also, for letting you travel so much!  You are a blessing to them, and to all who travel with you!


                                                            Reviewed March 18, 2016

The trip there was unforgettable

The highlights for both of us were the Shrine, and the museum of St. Miguel Pro.  The Shrine has been on our ‘bucket list’ for many years, and the trip there was unforgettable.  We were really pleased that you made time for a second visit.  Our faith was deepened by learning about, and seeing, the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Also, we really appreciated the excellent commentary of Carla, our guide in the Miguel Pro museum.  It was wonderful to have Fr. Masutti with us to translate, but even without this, it was moving to witness Carla’s passion and devotion.”


                                                            Reviewed March 15, 2016

Prayer-filled attitudes

Thanks for you kind words and warm wishes, John.  I hope your trip home was smooth and that you are now relaxing with your family.  Despite the rain, there are many positives about Cuba. The most important for us is that we were able to meet and spend time with so many wonderful Catholic people.  This is so unusual for us and we relished all the discussions and prayer-filled attitudes.  We also appreciated the chance to learn more about Cuba – its history and its people.  We likely would not have done this without being there, so are enriched by the experience.  The trip to Havana was very interesting in so many ways, so thanks for this.  I am just sorry that I had a cold and was not feeling very energetic for the week as we missed the opportunity to tour the island a bit more.  However, it has opened our minds for travel in the future.  Thanks to you for taking good care of us.”


                                                            Reviewed January 17, 2016


A first for our students

Traditional Learning Academy’s high school Spring Pilgrimage tour of France and Italy was the first of its kind with Orbis Catholicus.  Two weeks visiting, and actually living in, some of the most prominent Catholic shrines and apparition sites in Europe was a first for our students.  Beginning with solemn high Mass at the Notre Dame de Paris, we joined the 20,000-strong, three-day walking pilgrimage making our way through Paris and the surrounding countryside ending at the Notre Dame de Chartres.  We stayed (and worked!) at the Abbaye de Notre Dame de Fontgombault, visited the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette in Nevers, climbed the Alps surrounding La Salette, spent a complete day in the picturesque village of Ars while visiting the Cure, swam in an alpine lake, explored the cathedrals of Lyon, toured Chambery in the Haute Savoie, and ended with a viewing of the Shroud of Turin.  When students were asked what their favourite part of the trip was, they replied, “We can’t decide.  It was all so wonderful.”  John and Natalie provided a wealth of information, fine organization, a flexible structure to the tour, and a sense of humour to make the experience one to remember.”


Reviewed October 6, 2015

A real spiritual journey

“OC-Travel went above and beyond on this trip.  From the development of a custom itinerary for our group before we left, to making generous adaptations to the schedule as the trip played out, OC-Travel truly made our experience special. OC-Travel’s choice of accommodations were spectacular on our trip to Rome.  The convent we stayed at was wonderful, clean and modern, but the chapel (a full blown church really) and the courtyard for my morning walks and prayers, were the really essential features that made this much more of a pilgrimage than just another tour.  Thank you, John and OC-Travel for making this trip a real spiritual journey!”


Reviewed September 16, 2015

I was so proud to be part of that group

“John, thank you for being not just our tour guide, but our friend.  You were superb, ready to handle each of our needs (and we had many).  The highlight for me was hearing our name being called at the audience with the Pope.  I was so proud to be part of that group.  How you had arranged all those marvelous details, I have no idea, but glad you did.  Another highlight was mass the morning of 9/11.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear my friends sing in the most wonderful church in the world.”


Reviewed September 16, 2015

I think of Rome everyday

“Thanks a million for the wonderful keepsake pictures, I think of Rome everyday!  I sure did enjoy the trip even if it was hot for me, I’d do it again, if I ever got the chance!!  I am hoping to take another kind of trip with you in the near future.  I will mail Kim her pictures, she made me a beautiful album of our trip and I added yours to it!!  I am very grateful for all of it.  Take care and God bless and peace always!!”


Reviewed September 3, 2015

The local tour guide was so informative

“My friends have gone for 4 days and were satisfied but we left wanting to return. There are many Catholic sites. The local tour guide was so informative. We visited several towns with beautiful churches I know my friends didn’t visit.  When we were  preparing to travel, I told my children and grandchildren I was going to see my heavenly Mother and I had many things to ask her about.  Our Lady spoke an inner locution to me the last day we were at her Shrine.  She said  ‘Stop  petitioning me, I have it covered, start thanking me.’  I had a serious shoulder injury from last March. I fell over a vacuum!  The Doctor said it would be a long painful recovery. I recently noticed my shoulder hasn’t been painful since we returned. It was not one of the requests I had made of her!”


Reviewed August 4, 2015

Your guidance made it a memorable trip

“My sister and I spoke last week and intended to send you a thank you note.  You reached us first and so on behalf of both of us I wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to you for your flexibility, for sharing your extensive knowledge and for your willingness to answer our many, many questions be it theological, historical or cultural.  Your guidance made it a memorable trip.  We both agree we had a great trip and have been telling people we had a private tour (with our small number it was essentially that).  We have told people who have visited Rome on several occasions many things they did not know: for instance that you can drink the water at public fountains, all about San Clemente, and of course our blessing of seeing St Peter’s tomb and that of all the popes underneath the Basilica.  And what to say of our excursions to Santa Marinella and Norcia/Cascia.  Great added bonus.  If you have an e-mail distribution list for your upcoming tours, I would like to be added to it.  Meanwhile I am pleased to share with family and friends my experiences with OC Travel and refer them to your web site.”

– Jocelyn

Reviewed August 2, 2015

 The best trip I have ever experienced

“The Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe was an experience beyond my expectations.  I feel so blessed to have seen the tilma.  Mass at the shrine in the presence of the tilma is so uplifting.  I have visited churches in Rome but the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary is the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen.  This is the best trip I have ever experienced.  Thank you, John.


Reviewed August 1, 2015

 The music was exquisite

“As I just returned from a pilgrimage to Rome a few weeks ago I thought I would share with you a few highlights.  The obvious biggest highlight was the opportunity afforded me to concelebrate the Solemn Mass with Pope Francis, on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.  The music was exquisite, being dominantly  Gregorian Chant.  The Credo was sung in polyphony from one of the best known compositions of Palestrina, the Missa Papae Marcelli.  Trumphets and trombones resonated throughout St. Peter’s Basilica, too, to the accompaniment of the immense pipe organ that was installed during the pontificates of two popes.  That evening it was a great blessing to attend Vespers (liturgical evening prayer) at St. Peter’s Basilica.  The psalms were sung in Gregorian Chant, the Magnificat was a magnificent composition for orchestra and organ, during which the altar was incensed, and a procession took place to the tomb of St. Peter for the incensation of his mortal remains.  The Vesper hymn, O Roma Felix (O Happy Rome) resounded in all its glory reminding us all of the multifarious blessings bestowed upon the Roman Church down through the centuries.  Another highlight of this trip was the celebration of Mass in the city of Norcia at the birth place of St. Benedict, at the Basilica dedicated to him.  We remembered to pray for all our Benedictine friends.  In addition we had Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and visited the Shrine of St. Rita at Cascia.  At every Mass I made a point of praying above all for the spiritual well-being of our parish!”

-Fr. William

Reviewed July 26, 2015

Sublime and filled with many spiritual graces

I hope your return trip was smooth and I’m sure you are very happy to be back with Natalie and Anastasia (as wonderful as Rome was!).  Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and leader during our pilgrimage.  My first time in Rome and Italy was sublime and filled with many spiritual graces.


Reviewed September 26, 2014

Great mix of planned activities and free time

“The recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi coast with Orbis Catholicus Travel was an incredible experience. It was great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It was truly a blessing to have this opportunity to share and grow together, united in our Catholic faith.  John Sonnen, of Orbis Catholicus Travel, is an excellent tour guide  whose in depth knowledge of Italy and the Vatican and his connections provided a strong foundation for the tour. There was a great mix of planned activities and free time to explore on your own.  Some highlights of our tour included: mass in the crypt (right next to the tomb of St. Peter), mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II, papal audience with Pope Francis, tours of Christian Rome, Ancient Rome, and the Vatican museum, an exclusive tour of the Swiss Guard barracks, being in Naples on the feast of St. Januarius for the miracle when the relic of his blood liquifies, beach day in Amalfi, shopping on the Island of Capri, and so much more!  Most importantly, I feel very blessed to have shared this time with the other members of the tour group, their examples as strong witnesses to our Catholic faith and the experiences we shared on the tour have strengthened and inspired me; as a result, I have returned home with renewed faith and energy to continue to strive to follow Christ and build up the Kingdom of God!


Reviewed September 28, 2014

So enjoyed the camaraderie of the group

“The Amalfi and Rome 2014 tour was very informative and indeed great fun.  I know that I had reservations about staying in a monastery but it turned out to be perfect even though the Italians do not know how to do breakfast! I so enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and the opportunity to travel with my son.  Given the opportunity and finances I would certainly do another tour with OC-Travel.”


Reviewed September 30, 2014

A five star experience!

“My recent trip to the Amalfi Coast and Rome, Italy with Orbis Catholicus Travel was a five star experience!  Each aspect of the journey was thoroughly enjoyable; from the stunning scenery, warm hospitality, comfortable accommodations, interesting history, and enriching spiritual encounters. One of my favorite moments from the trip was visiting St. Paul’s Outside the Walls with time to pray in front of St. Paul’s tomb. John Sonnen from OC-Travel was an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide; I hope to join another trip with OC-Travel in the future!”


Reviewed September 30, 2014

Spiritually uplifting

“Visiting Rome is spiritually uplifting. It made me more aware that the Catholic Church is a grand and powerful institution that has a vibrant history.”


Reviewed October 6th, 2014 (BC Catholic)

Experiences that went beyond expectations

“This tour was great.  John was an excellent guide as well as the other guides he arranged for us on the tour.  I never had a tour guide that was so professional and helpful.  John provided us with personal touches and experiences that went beyond expectations.  I thank OC-Travel for one of the best experiences and we would definitely recommend you to others.  Our group was amazing and everyone on the tour enjoyed the experience.  Thanks for a lovely time.”


Reviewed October 13, 2014

Knowledge of the subject of our tour was amazing

“John, your personal attention to all of our needs and your knowledge of the subject of our tour was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip.”


Reviewed November 7, 2014

Guides were world-class

“The group of people were the best I’ve ever traveled with (very classy people), and I was really impressed by the knowledgeability of our guides, especially our guides at the Catacomb of Priscilla and the Forum/Colosseum. They were world-class.”


Reviewed November 7, 2014

Feel so blessed

“Thank you all.  It is so nice to get these wonderful pictures, and great to hear from all of you. I feel so blessed to have been on the Pilgrimage with such a great group. Thank you again.”


Reviewed November 8, 2015

Friends for life

“You were (and are) awesome. And, we had a tremendous group of Pilgrims; some of which will be friends for life.  Please let us know if ever you are in Madison or the surrounding area.  It would be great to see you again.”


Reviewed November 8, 2014

Rome was a great blessing for us

“The trip to Rome was a great blessing for us, as was our association with each of you which we enjoyed immensely. Thanks to all of you who have forwarded photos. We continue to enjoy them.”


Reviewed January 9, 2015

The great effect it has on me

“I am writing to share with you how wonderful it is this Lent, in reading my EF missal commentary most days, whether I make it to Mass or not, and also listen to the LentcaZts as well, to appreciate the Stational Churches! Three this week are: S. Clemente, S. Cecilia, and today is even S. Maria in Trastevere! I have wonderful memories, and even pictures, from being at all of these churches myself now. You made this possible, and I can’t help but write and tell you the great effect it has on me.”


Reviewed March 5, 2015

As seen on TripAdvisor

Informative & Entertaining

“John Sonnen’s Art History background brought a unique interpretation to the art that amazed us. Especially like that the size of the group was not too large.”

Reviewed 10 July 2010

Our tour guide, John, was outstanding!

“John gave us a fantastic 4 hour tour of the Vatican. He was exceptionally knowledgeable and personable. He touched us with his explanation of paintings, sculptures, and history of churches, St. Peter’s, Sistene Chapel, and museum art.
We recommended John to several people we met on their way to Rome.
My group was 3 retired couples from USA who were pastors and wives.
Loved it!

Reviewed 19 June 2010

Great Tour

John gave us a great tour of the Vatican. He was not only knowledgeable, but devoutly passionate about everything, too.”

Reviewed 24 June 2010

A Wonderful Tour

Our guide, John, was unbelievably knowledgeable about artwork and Italian culture. When the tour ended (a half-hour later than the specified time-he gave us more time for the same price), no one wanted to leave! Truly exceptional.”

Reviewed 12 January 2010

The Spectacular Vatican Tour

John, who was our guide was THE best tour guide I have ever come across. His in depth knowledge, approach, enthusiasm and passion was absolutely amazing. He’s the type of teacher you want at school to draw you in with the subject you take. He gave us really good restaurant recommendations too. Just the places we were looking for to complete the vacation with full satisfaction.”

Reviewed 29 November 2009

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